10:00 a.m. September 3, 2022
Vegetarian and vegan food can get a bad rap. There are so many restaurants (largely serving fast food or street food) offering what I consider to be “fake food”. I’m sorry, but a chicken nugget or vegan hot dog made largely of wheat and soy protein is not doing anyone’s health a favor.
My vegetarian friends have almost gone to war against these meat imitators, who are quickly taking over from real ingredients and real products.
There are many reasons why food impostors have become so prevalent in the market – but it’s largely thanks to lucrative vegan marketing campaigns and clueless so-called Instagram influencers doing their bidding.
Can’t we get back to cooking with real ingredients for those who don’t eat meat?
I’m so against fake meat that I won’t serve it to vegetarians when they come to my house – other than a few veggie sausages for breakfast – especially during BBQ season.
When it comes to barbecuing, there’s so much more to it than burning frozen crumbly bean burgers.
Sweet corn can be blackened and drizzled with flavored butter. Eggplant stuffed with treats, wrapped in foil and softened over the flames. Cauliflower slices can be marinated and charred.
The humble carrot is one of the most underrated vegetables for the barbecue. New season carrots are everywhere now and have a delicious sweet flavor that beautifully picks up the smoke from an open flame. It’s almost alchemy the way the taste changes in minutes.
This week’s recipe is one that I urge you to try, vegetarian, vegan or not. It works as a main dish for two or as a side dish. It’s sticky, sweet, slightly spicy and umami.
Grilled carrots with tahini sauce and spice powder
(For 2 people as a main dish with a salad or 4 people as a side dish)
8 carrots, stemmed, stemmed and quartered lengthwise
2 tablespoons runny honey
For the spice dust
2 tablespoons cashew nuts
1 tbsp mixed seeds
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
1/2 tsp garlic grains
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp salt
For the tahini sauce
3 tablespoons light tahini
Juice ½ lemon
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp of salt
8 tablespoons cold water
Start by preparing the spice powder. Crush the nuts in a pestle and mortar or small spice grinder until you have rubble but no powder. Mix with the other ingredients.
For the tahini sauce, combine the tahini, lemon juice, salt and garlic in a small bowl. Gradually add the cold water until the sauce forms with a spoon. If you make it ahead, it will thicken in the fridge, so add a little water, drop by drop, to achieve your desired consistency.
Put the carrots in a pot of boiling water for five minutes. Let cool slightly, then rub with oil. Put them on the barbecue, turning them regularly until they are charred in spots and starting to soften – you can have them as crispy or chewy as you like, so cook them until you are satisfied.
Add honey and pour into a bowl. Pour some tahini sauce and sprinkle with spice powder.